Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Knowing Your Enemies

In a complicated world, it can often be difficult to know where to stand on a given issue. There are many competing considerations to evaluate, and their weights and precise directions can be hard to assess. You may need answers to empirical questions that you may not be very qualified to resolve, and working out who you can trust to provide you with accurate information can often be nearly impossible. Given that, it's useful to have a bellwether of sorts, a guide whose views you can use as a basis for deciding what position to take. For example, you might take the leader of the Conservative Party. You might decide that thinking and doing exactly the opposite of what David Cameron thinks and does is, in any area where you are unsure, probably never going to take you too far wrong. If the Eton-educated leader of Britain's premier defenders of class and other unjustified hierarchies approves of it, then it is probably evil, particularly if he has to lie to make a case for it.

I would suggest this might be a helpful decision procedure for working out how to vote in any forthcoming national referendums on Britain's electoral system. This is notwithstanding both the various frankly ridiculous claims about difference a only marginally more proportional system will make that the yes campaign have peddled, and any desire you might have to shaft Nick Clegg and various other senior Lib Dems. In the latter case, I'd suggest that the best way of shafting the Lib Dem leadership is to shaft the Tory leadership. The Lib Dem leadership is going to cling to the Coalition for dear life, since they will be obliterated at any election unless they have substantial Tory support. Tory support on the other hand is holding fairly steady, presumably because all their voters are actually evil rather than merely misguided and so not so disturbed by plans to gut welfare provision and the Health Service in the middle of a recession. They don't necessarily lose by going to the country, and so are always asking themselves, what are we doing letting this load of bloodless, electorally crippled chancers make us change the voting system? There's always a chance the red meat Cameron'll have to give to the backbenches if they lose the referendum will end up being Nick Clegg's battered political corpse.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Remembrance Of Things Past

There are various reasons why, in professional contexts, I rarely call myself a philosopher any more. One reason is that I hope I have mostly trained myself out of the weirdly autistic behaviour fondly mocked here.